Port Jeff Harbor to High-Altitude Vermont

Escape to a place away from the city lights, where the air is crisp and millions of visible stars twinkle in clear night skies. It’s not as far away as you may think. Less than six hours from Port Jefferson, a Vermont-based Zen experience awaits.

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Go and Stay

Set sail with a pleasant ferry-ride from Port Jeff to Bridgeport, Connecticut, and then put “Stowe, Vermont” in your GPS. Just off Interstate 91, the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park (Vermont’s only National Park) makes for an excellent spot to stretch stiff legs.

Stowe’s hotel options are aplenty, ranging from a downtown spot to a mountainside lodge, resort or B&B. When it comes to luxury accommodations, Topnotch Resort truly lives up to its moniker. Surrounded by 120 acres of forest and nestled in Stowe’s luscious mountains, the resort offers indoor and outdoor hot tubs, swimming pools, on-site dining, a tennis court, spa services, S’mores-ready fire pits and stunning views. It’s also a prime spot for hiking and biking—Mount Mansfield, the highest peak in Vermont, is a mere two miles away.

Town Mouse, Mountain Mouse

places to go in vermont

Learn about lake ecology and stewardship at ECHO in Burlington

To earn evenings full of relaxation, spend vacation days strolling through downtown Stowe and the city of Burlington, situated an hour to the West. Rack up steps without realizing it while browsing chic boutiques, art galleries and cultural centers. Points of note include Stowe’s Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum and Burlington’s ECHO, which hosts an aquarium and informs visitors about the ecology of the Lake Champlain Basin.

Fern is prolific in Green Mountain National Forest

Fern is prolific in Green Mountain National Forest

Although the towns mentioned provide a taste of mountain air, the best place to gain fresh lungfuls is Green Mountain National Forest. Farther south than Stowe, the abundant woodland offers a plethora of hiking trails and is absolutely worth exploring. A definite-must: Foray into sunset-hued fall foliage at Texas Falls while looping around a scenic waterfall.

More Than Maple

Mention “Vermont,” and fellow travelers will gush about rich cheeses, wild ice creams, and of course, authentic maple syrup. Skip the factory tours, though, and get the real deal when you dine at restaurants that specialize in locally sourced cuisine. Topnotch Resort’s Flannel, Burlington’s Hen of the Woods, and Stowe’s Plate are vital for upscale dining experiences. Hint: Whatever you order at Hen of the Woods, make sure it comes with homemade maple-infused crackers. They offer the perfect contrast of subtle sweetness and crunch. And anywhere it’s on the menu, Vermont-brewed Heady Topper IPA (“America’s Most Coveted Beer”) is always a good choice. The brew is hoppy but smooth and pairs well with both elaborate and simple meals.

For sweet travels home, stop at any of the various country-style stores to indulge in maple syrup candies and other such delicious products. After all, what’s a memorable road trip without the snacks?

Happy travels, and don’t forget to tag @longislandpulse and #lipulse on your pics, so we can share in your adventures, too!

rachel kalina

Rachel Morgan Kalina is the creative director of The Wood & Watch jewelry and a freelance writer. She knows how to wield a flame to shape metal; loves to travel; and is passionate about art, antiques, DIY, and nature. Visit her at TheWoodandWatch.com and RachelKalina.com